Bangalore International Centre (BIC) is a non profit, public institution which serves as an inclusive platform for informed conversations, arts and culture. BIC TALKS aims to be a regular bi-weekly podcast that will foster discussions, dialogue, ideas, cultural enterprise and more.
150. Colonial Art and the Museum
1:13:53Art historian, writer and educator Alice Procter embarks on everything that a historian in mainstream establishment shuns. She speaks about colonial loot, whiteness, historical trauma, myths of national identity besides excavating the colonial story of art in museums. Her unofficial and unauthorised Uncomfortable Art Tours initiative has been unpacking colonial narrative since 2017 across some of Britain’s leading museums. Her book The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & why We Need to Talk about it deftly unpacks many of the themes that guide her work and asks crucially ‘…who has the right to hold objects, and to tell their stories? Alice in this conversation with Pramod Kumar KG, art historian and co-founder of Eka Archiving Services deliberates on repatriation and restitution and the need to explore alternative histories of objects, people, and collections. This episode of BIC Talks was originally a live BIC Streams session in collaboration with Eka Archiving Services.
149. Balancing the Bench
38:44The question of judicial diversity has long featured in global discourse, encompassing demographic characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background etc. as well as professional background. Arguments in favour of prioritising judicial diversity emphasise that it provides decision-making power to previously disenfranchised sections of society, and that a diverse bench is an essential component of a fair and impartial judiciary. But in the Indian context, popular discourse on courts tends to exclusively focus on case delay, ignoring other systemic problems that are equally important for maintaining public confidence in the judiciary, and for ensuring that the courts function in a just and equitable manner. While there are many dimensions to the diversity debate, this episode of BIC Talks focuses on gender diversity in the lower judiciary. Highlighting some of the outcomes from two research papers on this subject are lawyers and researchers Deepika Kinhal and Shreya Tripathy in conversation with lawyer Poornima Hatti.
148. Born a Muslim
49:39Who are the Indian Muslims? Are they a monolithic community practising a faith alien to India? Or are they a diverse people, geographically rooted in the cultural ethos of the land? Is there an ‘Indian Islam’? In this episode of BIC Talks, author Ghazala Wahab in a conversation with historian Rajmohan Gandhi takes a clear-eyed look at every aspect of Islam in India today. Weaving together personal memoir, history, reportage, scholarship, and interviews with a wide variety of people, Ghazala’s book Born a Muslim highlights how an apathetic and sometimes hostile government attitude and prejudice at all levels of society have contributed to Muslim vulnerability and insecurity. This conversation is an extract from a BIC Streams event.
147. Singing the Vachanas
1:00:48Vachana Sahitya is a form of literature unique to the Sharanas of the 11th to 13th Century CE in Karnataka. Vachana means speech. The Sharanas chose to use everyday language of the time over the prevailing poetic structure and language to make it accessible to people of the streets as well as the learned connoisseurs. This sets it apart from the classical Sanskrit tradition of poetry. The Vachanas represent the deep philosophical journey the Vacharakaara or Sharana takes towards self awareness and divinity. A Sharana could be from any walk of life - a farmer, a sex worker, a cobbler, a cleaner- anyone who believed that one’s work and one's own conscience is the divine. This movement rejected caste, class and gender bias and upheld the tradition of intellectual awareness. Recent studies reveal the expanse of Vachana Sahitya could be far more widespread than it was believed before, going beyond Kannada and Karnataka. In this episode of BIC Talks Musician Sumitra Nitin, accompanied by Abhiram Nitin, takes us on an introductory journey of a selection of Vachanas and the essence each of them carry.
146. A Rude Life
1:29:05History is famously unkind and there are few who witness a changing world and can set the record straight. In this no-holds-barred conversation with lawyer Rahul Matthan, about his book, A Rude Life journalist Vir Sanghvi treats us to anecdotes, personalities and era altering events in his inimitable equanimous style. The conversation sprinkled with fascinating tidbits and a generous amount of chuckles features Vir’s personal impressions of and interactions with prime ministers, presidents, kingmakers, mafiosos among other characters and presents them in a most human and accessible light. This conversation is an extract from a BIC Venue in-person event.
145. Musically Speaking
1:23:10When musicians of two proudly distinct though overlapping traditions encounter each other as two contemplative artists and thinking people of music, the conversation is no less than a refreshing jugalbandi of the highest order. In this episode of BIC Talks, Ustad Zakir Hussain and TM Krishna meet and converse for the first time. In a freewheeling tête-à-tête leaving their performative selves aside and talk about their respective experiences that have shaped them as artists, their craft, artistry, the importance of listening and engagement with the world around them. This conversation is adapted from a BIC Streams session presented by JSW, in collaboration with Literature Live.
144. Evolution of Science and Innovation in India
1:16:27In this episode of BIC Talks, historian of science Jahnavi Phalkey speaks with eminent scientist Raghunath Mashelkar about his journey in scientific-industrial research, his leadership style, the status of scientific-industrial research in India@75, and how might India think about bringing home a Nobel Prize in science after having waited for nearly a century! This episode is adapted from a BIC Streams session presented by JSW as part of the Anil Dharker Literature Live! Independence Lecture.
143. Following the Brahmaputra
53:07The Brahmaputra born as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet transforms into the Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh, and later morphs into Luit, Dilao in Assam, is a trans-boundary river flowing through Tibet, India, and Bangladesh - which contributes to the complexity of history, politics and lives in the region. In this episode of BIC Talks, journalist Tora Agarwala is in conversation with author of the Braided River, Samrat Choudhury where they talk about the environmental, military and political issues the region faces through Samrat’s book which blends travel, memoir and history with the present.
142. Constitutional Morality
1:07:25“The diffusion of constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community but throughout the whole, is the indispensable condition of a government”. The importance of constitutional morality for the effective functioning of Indian democracy was highlighted by Dr BR Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly Debates (Vol. 7, 4th November 1948). But what does constitutional morality mean? Who are its arbiters? And does constitutional morality exist in India today? In this podcast, host Shruti Vishwanathan of the Equals Project talks to advocates and scholars Disha Wadekar, Anurag Bhaskar & Malavika Prasad as they discuss the elements of constitutional morality in India, and its importance for Indian society. Visit the BIC website for show notes and links related to this podcast.
141. Sing of Life
49:20Rabindranth Tagore’s profound meditations on life, nature, grace and brokenness in the Gitanjali won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Alternately a poet and a philosopher, his words remain a part of our intellectual and artistic landscape long after his death 80 years ago. This episode of BIC Talks features a conversation located in Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s contemplative and courageous collection, Sing of Life - Revisioning Tagore’s Gitanjali which chisels his prose poems into intense new poems. In the midst of a pandemic we are invited, through this book, to re-engage with Tagore’s prescient ideas on translation and his views on nature, death and suffering. The author, along with translator and writer Arshia Sattar, explore the ways in which this work of Tagore remains relevant to the 21st century even as he points backwards to the long and diverse tradition of spiritual poetry in the South Asian subcontinent.